No longer Rusty? Share your story here!

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No longer Rusty? Share your story here!

Posted by Meghan Custer on Apr 26, 2017 10:44 am

We absolutely love reading stories from pilots who recently completed their flight review after a long hiatus from flying. Just last week we heard from a pilot who attended a Rusty Pilots seminar in December 2016 - he was proud to report that he received his Flight Review endorsement on April 22, 2017 - after more than 10 years away from the cockpit! Are there any other pilots out there who have recently completed their flight review after a long break?
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Re: No longer Rusty? Share your story here!

Posted by Jason Moore on Dec 4, 2017 8:36 am

In May of 2016 I, along with my then 12 year old son, attended the AOPA fly in in Beaufort, NC. Since I was already there, I decided to take the Rusty Pilots program. I was of the opinion that I'd forgotten too much to get back in the air, and I was a bit nervous to go into a classroom and demonstrate just how much I didn't know. I still had a pilots license in my pocket and as long as I didn't prove I was clueless, I was technically still a pilot, able to impress people at parties and tell funny or harrowing stories on demand. If I attended class and proved how much I didn't know, well then that would be more than embarrasing, it would be tangible proof I no longer was a pilot. But with the class available right there with the fly in, I really couldn't not attend. I've been a consistent AOPA member since the early 90s, and I'd always considered going to MD to attend the fly in but never could justify the trip. Major kudo's to AOPA for bringing the fly in out to the field. I don't know how I'd have gotten back in the air if I hadn't attended. 

I'd stopped flying in mid 2004 when I had to take over our family business when my father had cancer. I'd gone from flying a King Air 200 solo to flying a desk, and I did so from 2004 to 2015 when I sold the family business. The sales process was brutal, and one of the things I told my wife as I went through the 1.5 year process was I'm going to buy an airplane when I get this done. She was always supportive, except for one time I'll get to in a minute. 

Step one for me was to get my medical back. Luckily it was a non-event for me. I'd recently lost 60 pounds and I was now farming every day so I was in pretty good health. With the medical out of the way, step two was to find a partner in an airplane. I don't hang out at the airport or really know anyone at the airport any longer. I didn't have a way of contacting someone like minded. There were no flying clubs near me that offered what I needed (a six seat go places airplane) so I was stuck. In desperation I placed an ad on Barnstormers looking for a pilot/partner. I only had one response, from some guy who was still getting his PPL. No way he'll be able to get insured in the type of aircraft I need. He's just dreaming. It turns out he has been the perfect partner and I couldn't be luckier. He and I purchased a 1978 Lance in May 2017 and we've already put over 100 hours on it.  aad039eb3035e0e570281dab3c6fa186-huge-20
We just upgraded the panel to a GTN650 with the Flightstream 510 to let the iPad talk to the GPS wirelessly. Modern avionics are AMAZING and they are one of the reasons I've come back to flying. 

While I was at the AOPA fly in, I also talked to the Civil Air Patrol recruiter. My son was 12, the perfect age to join. I shoe horned him into a conversation with the CAP recruiter and stood back proudly as I watched her lure him in. As I was standing there, a Marine pilot asked me what I did. When he found out I was a pilot, he put the hard press on me to join CAP as well. Have you ever tried to push someone into the pool, and ended up falling in yourself? That's what happened to me. So in addition to flying myself and my family around, I am now 1st Lt. Moore, flying CAP aircraft in training and on missions.

Between my plane, and the CAP plane, I have over 110 hours in the last 12 months. Most of that (80 hours) is in the last 6 months. Things are picking up. 

Now back to my wife being supportive. Before I purchased the Lance in May, I'd mentioned, again, that I was going to buy a plane to the Mrs. "I don't know why you'd do that. That's a bad idea." I was immediately defensive, but she continued, "If you are going to get a plane, you should build a plane with your son. That would be a great experience for him and for you." This was back in 2014 I think. Since that conversation, I've been to Sun N Fun and Oshkosh (both for the first time) and have finally selected our project. It is going to be a Just Aircraft SuperSTOL, which was purchased in October 2017. We start in March of 2018 with hopes to be flying by spring of 2019. I've already started a blog to document the build at so hopefully anyone later can learn from my mistakes. 

In January 2018 I am flying the family to the Bahamas for a vacation, our first aviation vacation as a family.

So from a Rusty Pilots seminar in 2016, I now fly as a volunteer pilot for CAP, fly a Lance for myself, and am building an airplane, and am in the process of being an airplane blogger. I've completed my EAA Young Eagles checks and am signed off as a pilot there. Once the SuperSTOL is finished, I plan on flying the wings off of it for Young Eagles flights. I'm more involved in aviation that I've ever been. 

So what got me back to flying? Swallowing my pride and going to the Rusty Pilots program was first. I went from nervous, to excited, to actually a bit bored at one point. I remembered SO MUCH of what I needed to know. The rest wasn't the difficult to relearn. IFR proficiency has taken a while but the basics of flying came back like they'd never left. Was I passionate about flying? I still read Flying magazine and AOPA's magazine, but that was about it. I could have never flown again and been happy. I'd been there and done that, and I had plenty of other chores to keep me busy (I was working about 80 hours per week during all of this). What changed for me was ADS-B, in-cockpit weather, in-cockpit traffic, GPS approaches, and Foreflight. The amount of information that I have at my fingertips when flying a NORDO aircraft is well beyond what was in the fanciest jet when I stopped flying in 2004. Situational awareness is ridiculously easy and the real struggle is to still do the homework on the ground because so much is available in the air. The AOPA Rusty Pilots program was the spark that relit the fire for me, but the technology is what is pouring gas on the flame. My iPad isn't simply a lightweight replacement for my old Jepp binders. It is a safety item that I won't leave the ground without. As more technology becomes reasonably available, thanks to the efforts of AOPA and EAA and the FAA (i.e. Garmin G5, TruTrak autopilots, AoA, etc), I think aviation gets better and better. I don't need an $800,000 Cirrus to be mission capable. An affordable older aircraft will give me more than I ever had before with an iPad and a required transponder. Or said another way, a SuperSTOL flying at 500 feet and 100mph has all the capability of a Gulfstream, as long as I don't want to actually go anywhere. 

Re: No longer Rusty? Share your story here!

Posted by Ronald Plante on Dec 27, 2017 5:31 pm

I didn’t quit flying in 1982, I stopped when life got in the way.  Thirty-five years later, I’m back in the air!  

In 1971 I learned to fly in a Cessna 150 during off duty time in the Army stationed at Fort Lee VA.  After my discharge later that year, I got checked out at home (Cortland NY, N03)) and flew a 150, 172, or Piper Tomahawk for about 10 years, logging about 190 hours total.  The main reason I stopped was money, but that situation eventually improved.  However, I was spending the money on a house and a new daughter!  It didn’t help that my job transferred me to Japan for a four-year tour.  By the way, we loved the assignment in Kure.  

Even though I was not flying, I still maintained a keen interest in all things aviation.  I was in the Air National Guard (first job was loading munitions on A-10s), going to airshows and aviation museums, and silently wishing I was flying again.  Between the ANG and my day job as an Army civilian, I got free rides in lots of commercial jets plus C-130s, C-141s, KC-135s, Hueys, Blackhawks, Chinooks, and even a British Army Puma.  I also paid for an unforgettable B-29 bombardier seat ride in FiFi with Jeff Skiles as co-pilot.  

It wasn’t until a year ago that I realized it was doable after two pals told me of an opening in their club at DVN (thanks again to Dave K. and Kirk W.)  It was a 152, the price was right, and – most importantly – my wife was all for it!  I rejoined AOPA, passed a Class III, and bought an Ipad to get ForeFlight.  I need to add that Dave K. provided major help and encouragement.  I also watched videos on YouTube, but the best single refresher training was a Rusty Pilot seminar in Chicago where Mark Boguski did a super job teaching and motivating.  

Then came the hard part:  Flying.  Especially landing.  Thanks to a very patient CFI (Jonathan Buckley), I figured it out and finally got signed off on Dec 16, 2017.  I went up solo a couple times and then took the wife up.  A few days later my daughter flew with me.  Neither will ever be “hooked” as I am, but they had a good time.  

What’s next?  More flights in the club 152 while I shop for a used 172.  After that, lots more flying, with eventual cross countries to visit my family in MD and NC.  

A note to other Rusty Pilots:  Don’t give up on your dreams, go for it!  If a 67 year-old guy can relearn after 35 years out of the cockpit, you can too.  

Ron Plante 
AOPA 6970327

Re: No longer Rusty? Share your story here!

Posted by Peter Kuhns on Jan 2, 2018 1:50 pm

Textbook success story. Congratulations! Hope you find a 172 that fits the mission! 

Re: No longer Rusty? Share your story here!

Posted by Richard Campbell on Jan 8, 2018 12:32 pm

I just retired-retired and decided to set aside some of my retirement funds to transfer to flight training.  I hadn't flown since retiring from the USMC in the the 80s.  Life gets in the way.  I had an ASEL, but had always been fascinated with helicopters.  So by golly, I found a flight school and jumped in last summer.  I earned my private helicopter rating in November and I'm having a ball, the helo flying is so much different.  I was surprised by how much I remembered, but also surprised by how much detail there was to relearn (not to mention the new stuff, like airspace, online weather, etc.) for the flight check.  I went to a Part 141 school.  They were very professional and prepared me well.  I am now also a member of the local EAA chapter,and looking for a helo kit.


Re: No longer Rusty? Share your story here!

Posted by Nicholas Dye on Jan 9, 2018 12:08 pm

I was born looking up - always pointing out aircraft to my parents before I could talk. And then, once I could talk and watch TV, all I wanted was the Murdock action figure from the A-Team...because he was the pilot. Flash forward to the summer of 1999. I started my first engineering internship with a large automaker and finally had a paycheck that would cover more than the gas necessary for my car. Next stop: Flint Bishop Airport (KFNT). Since I was in college, earning my Private License took several years, culminating with passing my checkride April 21, 2001. I still remember September 11, 2001 and where I was when I found out about the twin towers...I was walking back to my dorm before heading to the airport to go flying... Following graduation, I chose to pursue engineering over flying due to the terrible aviation industry conditions at the time, vowing that I'd revisit that decision soon. A friend of mine joined the USAF at the same time and ended up flying C-17s...what if...  Over the next several years I added the instrument rating and complex/high performance endorsements. Then life happened, as it has to so many before me, and I met my future wife. Between a long distance relationship (should have flown to visit her!), working 3rd shift and earning my MBA, then marriage and our first house, time and money were never correlated. I stopped flying in 2006, and didn't start again until June 2017. In the Spring of 2016 I attended the AOPA Fly-In in Battle Creek and the Rusty Pilot Seminar. Amazing event, and certainly heightened my desire to get back. Now, summer of 2017 my amazing wife suggests I finally get my Commercial and CFI since that's all I could talk about (the endless aviation magazines in our home support this observation). She even volunteered to spend our vacation at Oshkosh so I could finally experience that for myself. I've flown about 25 hours since then with a terrific instructor out of Pontiac (KPTK) and am prepping for my Commercial Checkride. Next stop: CFI and hopefully CFI-I so I can share my experience and love of flying with others. And I hope never again to have such a long interruption to my passion!

Re: No longer Rusty? Share your story here!

Posted by Henry Southam on Feb 12, 2018 10:40 am

My flight training began in 1982 and by 1986 I had earned a commercial certificate and an instrument rating. After renting and flying other people’s airplanes for a few years I bought into a C182 which I flew up and down the east coast from our base in Delaware (ILG) on a regularly. After a move to Illinois in 1999, I flew a couple of hours with a flight instructor and then let the flying lapse but retained my medical through 2007, and my AOPA membership to this day.


Fast forward to 2017 BasicMed and Rusty Pilots, two opportunities that could not be passed up. I attended a Rusty Pilot course at a local fly-in community in September and working with my doctor, completed BasicMed by the end of the month. October brought on-line courses and a search for a flying club. By the end of November, I had joined Fox Flying Club based on DPA, found a flight instructor with the club and helped put a coat of winter wax on one of the club planes.


December brought typical Chicagoland weather with sub-zero temperatures and gusty winds, and most important, my first BFR in years, as well as the coveted check out in the Fox Flying Clubs’ Arrow III and Archer III, all while adding words like “Line Up and Wait” and “Squitter” to my vocabulary. Oh, and let’s not forget that a $100 hamburger is now $200. Best of all, when it stops snowing, I’ll be flying east and then south to see the family.


Next stop, Instrument Flight Review!